Jacob Christensen

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Archive for March 28th, 2007

Time and Place

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The number of teacher-led classes and seminars per week has been a – minor – issue in Sweden during the last week (SR – Studio Ett, scroll down to Tuesday – hat tip to Greger Wikstrand, DN Op-Ed).

If I try to think back to when I started studying Political Science in Copenhagen in – gaaah – 1983, we had something like 12-14 hours of classes per week during the first year. This was gradually reduced to 8 hours in the last semester of the B.A.-programme. On the M.A.-level 6 hours per week was more or less the norm.

I’m not quite sure how the accounts look in UmeŚ, but I think that an unofficial norm on the B- and C-levels has been around 9-10 2-hour lectures per 7,5 ECTS-course and 1 or 2 seminars. Tutoring sessions should also be included in this. UmeŚ also was lauded in the recent evaluation of Political Science programmes for offering relatively many teacher-led sessions.

On the other hand you have to take the number of students into account – according to a former head of the department, the break-even point for courses in the social sciences should have increased from 25 to 35 students from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. Obviously, raising the break-even point must have implications for the number of classes and the availability of teachers. But I managed to really surprise some German students last year when I told them that we often broke student groups of 15-20 into minor groups in seminars.

And one question remains: For how long can you be ambitious with regard to teaching if the economic resources provided really do not allow it?

Written by Jacob Christensen

March 28th, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Do Not Try This When You Have a Fever

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Taking painkillers/fever relief to keep up with your lecturing schedule is a profoundly stupid idea. I did so on Monday and Tuesday (after catching a cold last week and staying at home on Friday) and as a result was barely able to drag myself to bed at 8 o’clock last night and spent the better part of today feeling feverish, nauseous and having a major headache.

On the other hand, the way the course system at Swedish universities are arranged really gives you no choice but to either cancel lectures altogether or occasionally challenge your body beyond what is really reasonable.

And since when have 3-day colds started to last a week…?

Written by Jacob Christensen

March 28th, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Posted in General,Political science etc.

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